New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3)



17 weeks full-time; part-time options

Online and face-to-face teaching with work experience for some courses

February and July
Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
  • Dunedin
    26 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    26 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    10 May 2021

Whatever your background, gain the skills you need to move into a higher level qualification in your chosen area.  

This programme offers you the chance to improve your study skills and prepare for higher level learning or employment.

It includes either a general study context or a work context (which includes practical workshops and community volunteering opportunities).

All learners (from both contexts) will undertake the two compulsory courses first: Career and Study Skills, and Communication Skills.

Those choosing the general study context will then do the numerical skills and career practice courses. Those choosing the work context will do the work placement preparation and work placement action courses.

You will study in a highly supportive and encouraging learning environment. Class sizes are small and our teachers are very approachable.  

Along with improving your reading, writing, presenting and computer skills, you will also gain valuable employability skills such as CV and interview preparation, and how to write a cover letter.

We also offer this programme in the following contexts for those not wishing to undertake the general study or work contexts: Beauty Therapy, Health and Engineering.

Entry requirements
  • Open entry
  • As part of our application process, you will be required to attend an informal chat with one of our careers team in Student Success. This is to ensure that you are enrolling into the best pathway for you and to inform you of the range of support services available to you through Otago Polytechnic.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes

Youth Guarantee Scheme information

If you are a 16-19 year old and feel that school didn’t work out for you, you may be able to study this programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school.

To be eligible for Youth Guarantee funding, you must:

  • Be a domestic student between 16-19 years old
  • OR be 15 years of age at the time when you commence the programme AND have an early leaving exemption from your school
  • Not already hold a Level 3 qualification in any subject
  • Have been thinking about leaving school and getting a job OR prefer to be working towards a career rather than staying at school OR have left school and are not sure how to enter higher education or employment
  • Want to learn practical skills
  • Be more motivated in a non-school setting and be prepared to enrol in a full-time programme.

Fees and allowances

The Youth Guarantee Scheme will cover tuition fees, material and equipment costs of your programme of study. 18-19 year olds enrolled in fees-free Youth Guarantee qualifications will now be able to access the course-related costs part of the student loan and student allowances if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those under 18 years old will not be able to access any part of the student loans. Funding for travel is available, conditions apply. Please visit the Studylink website for full details. We strongly recommend that you read this carefully prior to applying for this programme.

The process

  • There is not a separate Youth Guarantee application form. Please apply for this programme by using our standard Otago Polytechnic application form. To apply online, or to download a paper version, click the apply button at the top right hand corner of this page.
  • If you meet the criteria for Youth Guarantee funding you will be offered the funding if it is available. We will ask you to let us know within two weeks if you do not wish to take up the funding.  
  • If there is no Youth Guarantee funding available, we will send you a letter advising you of this. Along with this letter, you will receive an invoice, terms and conditions, a Studylink brochure and an equipment list advising what you will need to purchase before starting your programme.  
Courses and electives

Course title





Compulsory (for all learners)




Career and Study Skills





Communication Skills





Elective Pathways 30 credits (choose one pathway)




General study context




Numerical Skills





Career Practices 





Work context




Work Placement (Preparation)





Work Placement (Action)





Course descriptions  

Career and Study Skills (Compulsory) 

  • Develop plans and evaluate opportunities for study and career pathways
  • Learn how to manage and think about your learning progress
  • Participate in group discussions/contribute to a team
  • Learn how to reflect on your role as a team member

Communication Skills (Compulsory)

  • Communicate in a variety of styles 
  • Learn how to write for a range of specified purposes
  • Discover how to present information using a range of methods suitable for your audience

Numerical Skills (General study context)

  • Gain essential numeracy skills that are required for everyday life, learning or work
  • Learn how to use essential numeracy skills in an industry or study-related context

Career Practices (General study context)

  • Progress further with your chosen study or career pathway
  • Think about the skills and attributes needed for your chosen pathway
  • Apply career development information to your chosen pathway

Work Placement (Preparation) (Work context)

  • Learn about what is required to progress into your chosen career pathway
  • Discover how to communicate the specific skills necessary for engaging in your chosen career pathway
  • Through an authentic work experience setting, gain an understanding how to act personally and professionally 

Work Placement (Action) (Work context)

  • By engaging in authentic work experience opportunities, learn about the required practical skills and knowledge 
  • Learn how to apply job specific skills and responsibilities within an authentic work experience
  • Analyse and reflect on your authentic work experience.
For more information

For further information about this programme or to discuss the best study pathway for you, please email

Student loans and allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw from your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

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